Field Meetings

NB Lectures are listed below the field meetings

Field meetings are open to  members only. All members are welcome giving opportunities to pursue specific interests and learn about biodiversity in different habitats and the relationships between species involved.
Reports of past excursions can be found on this website (under  NEWS items).

Field meetings for 2017 are listed below.  There is also a list (and booking forms for the bus trips) in the printed copy of the Autumn 2016 Newsletter.  June Atkinson has done a sterling job arranging these trips for us and they are always worth attending.

June gives the following message regarding these outings:

Leader (except 29th March and 13th June 2017):  June E Atkinson.

Cost £15 per head pre-booked (not returnable).  Members will be informed, when their cheque is received, if the bus is already fully booked
Bookings: use printed form inside Newsletter.  Contact details are on this form.
Cheques payable to Harrogate & District Naturalists’ Society.

NOTE THIS CHANGE: New pick-up point (the only pick-up point) for minibus and coach outings:  meet at York Place Car Park, off York Road, Knaresborough – behind Marquis of Granby pub.  Car-parking charge:  £1.60 all day.  Please have exact money for the machine.

Please note the following precautions: stout footwear and suitable outdoor clothing should always be worn.  Bring plenty of food and drink, with sun blocker and insect repellent when relevant.  Members take part entirely at their own risk and are responsible for their personal safety and the security of their personal belongings.

The vehicles, where used, will be a 16-seater minibus and a 33-seater coach each with a hired driver.  Various field guides will be available on most trips.

Of course the weather can never be guaranteed, so some events may have to be altered slightly to work around any inclement precipitations!  Also note that return times are approximate only.



Minibus trip (booking required). Meet at York Place car park, Knaresborough, at 8 a.m. A stop at Wykeham for Honey-buzzard and other raptors, Turtle Dove, Tree Pipit, Common Crossbill. On to RSPB Bempton for the myriads of breeding seabirds. RSPB members should have their membership cards.

When: Tue June 6 08:00 - 19:30


Leader: Robert Brown. Meet in Stainburn car park at 9 p.m. (in cars). The walk is approximately 1 mile each way on a good forestry track. Please bring a torch for the return walk, and midge repellent is essential.

When: Thu June 15 21:00 - 23:45


A visit to Plumpton Rocks, a site of interest for nature conservation with a long history of interesting botanical and wildlife records. Meet in the car park at Plumpton Rocks (SE 35615349) at 10am.

Bring packed lunch.

Leader: Nick Gaunt
07587 226336
When: Wed June 21 10:00 - 16:00


Charlie Philpotts of the Harrogate Orchid Society gave a lecture on native British Orchids in the winter programme, and has offered to lead these field trips. So that he has some idea of numbers, please let the Programme Secretary, Ruth Upsall, know if you will be joining the trip. If you are interested in a car share, please speak to Ruth

Meet at Augill Pasture site at around 10:00am. The reserve is at the end of the road past Augill Beck Park caravan site near Brough off the A66 - postcode CA17 4DX. There is no sign for the reserve but the road comes to an end here next to an old stone building. This is an old lead works and is home to a good variety of plants. Orchids seen should include common spotted, heath spotted, fragrant, early purple, frog and greater butterfly orchids.
We will move on after a couple of hours to the Christian Head public car park in Kirkby Stephen where we can use the toilets and have lunch. The postcode is CA17 4HA and it is near both the grammar school and fire station which are on the right hand turn of a roundabout.

We will then drive a short distance up to Waitby Greenriggs reserve. This is on an old railway line and we should see common spotted, northern marsh, lesser butterfly, marsh helleborine, twayblades, fragrant and hopefully fly orchids. This is my personal favourite reserve and is a good complement to Augill pastures having different soil conditions and other wildflowers. If anybody does not enjoy this site they will be left behind!
If time allows we can go to the other end of Kirkby Stephen and look for the bird’s nest orchid in a park, have a spot of refreshment or simply leave and make our way home.
When: Sun June 25 10:00 - 17:00

Botany Field Trip, Duck Street Quarry

Meet at Duck Street, Greenhow, SE113638 at 10:00 am. Full day trip.
Leader: Kevin Walker
Enquiries to him at
When: Sun July 9 10:00 - 17:00


Meet at Sue's pit stop cafe in the Enterprise car park at Ledstone Luck at 10:00am. Cafe and toilets are open in the morning. The postcode is LS25 7BF. There is ample car parking and we
can car share from there. It is a short walk from here to the actual Ledston Luck reserve where we will see common spotted, northern and southern marsh, a few pyramids and bee orchids. There are thousands of orchids on this site including some very good Dactylorhiza hybrids. There are a number of ponds so there will be chasers and dragonflies etc. This is an old pit site which closed in the late 80s, it can be muddy so wellies may be worthwhile
The next site is Townclose Hills, a SSSI site nearby which is a magnesian limestone outcrop surrounded by meadows. Park at Kippax sports centre - postcode LS25 7LQ. This is my favourite
local site and has many thousands of common spotted and hybrids, around 1000 pyramidals, a number of bee orchids and a few twayblades. There are also an excellent variety of calcareous
plants which are not common to the area. We can use the benches here to have our lunch before walking up to the site. We could take a short break in an old coaching inn on the way to the next reserve if people wish. The Chequers Inn is a large pub with a marquee in the beer garden. Postcode is LS25 5LP
From here we will drive a short distance to Ledsham Bank reserve. This a magnesian limestone grassland site and there is an excellent variety of calcareous plants here. Orchids include fragrant, common spotted and pyramidal. This is a small site and we can spend a nice hour exploring before heading home.
When: Sat July 15 10:00 - 17:00


Colin Slator is organising a programme of events at Pateley Bridge.
Go to our NEWS items for more information and a booking form.
When: Sun July 16 12:30 - 17:30


Coach trip (booking required – see blue form). Meet at York Place car park at 8 a.m. Looking for passage migrants, seabirds and waders. Hopefully we may coincide with more unusual species. Butterflies and dragonflies will be of interest .
Note: There is now no vehicular access along the peninsula to the Point, but those wishing to undertake the walk, may do so.
When: Sun September 3 08:00 - 18:00


Lectures take place at fortnightly meetings held between October and March (inclusive) in the St. Robert’s Centre, 2/3 Robert Street, Harrogate on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 p.m.  These meetings are open to members and guests; visitor’s fee is £3.00. All lectures start at 7.30 pm. Parking is either on the adjacent streets or, with their kind permission, in the Waitrose car park.

Fighting Wildlife Crime- in the UK and internationally

Bob Elliot, RSPB, Head of Wildlife Crime
Formed in 1889 to stop the trade in millinery plumes, the RSPB continues to fight the illegal killing of birds: investigations, threats and opportunities
When: Wed October 11 19:30 - 21:30

Yorkshire's Forgotten Fenlands

Professor Ian Rotherham, Sheffield Hallam
The unique history of the once-great fenlands of eastern England, from Yorkshire to East Anglia. A story of loss and transformation, the consequences, and beginnings of recovery.
When: Wed October 25 19:30 - 21:30

Hackfall Woods

David Mason, Woodland Trust
This unique woodland landscape is owned by the Woodland Trust. A tour with photographs, historical notes and details of the heritage project which put Hackfall back on the map.
When: Wed November 8 19:30 - 21:30

‘Filey International’ Migration at the Filey observatory

Mark Pearson
Filey International – Arrivals & Departures: North Yorkshire's Bird Observatory Fasten your seatbelts! Migration never stops at this east coast hotspot – and neither does Mark in his pursuit of its wonders. a whistlestop tour through four seasons
When: Wed November 22 19:30 - 21:30

State of the UK's birds.

Mike Brown, HDNS
An in-depth review of the population status of birds in the United Kingdom based upon research by the BTO, RSPB, Natural England and several other conservation organisations.
Mike Brown, HDNS

When: Wed December 6 19:30 - 21:30

Work of the RSPB in Yorkshire

Helen Byron, RSPB
Highlights of work in the wider countryside: saving species, habitats, sites and landscapes; uplands, working with farmers, involvement in planning and advocacy.
When: Wed January 10 2018 19:30 - 21:30


Dr Nick Gaunt
Awe-inspiring scenery where the Kalahari desert meets the infamous Skeleton Coast. A remarkable variety of wildlife clinging on to life in an apparently hostile environment.
When: Wed January 24 2018 19:30 - 21:30


Mike Watson
Spring visits in search of the seven readily available grouse species. Also a great selection of special North American bird species, some spectacular scenery and lots of snow!
When: Wed February 7 2018 19:30 - 21:30

Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust: an Overview

Dan Turner YDRT
Natural Flood Management, an Upper Wharfe perspective. A proactive approach to flood management, working with natural processes to slow the flow of water.
When: Wed February 21 2018 19:30 - 21:30

Swift Conservation

Edward Mayer
This talk presents new and interesting facts about Swifts, explains why they are in trouble, and suggests ways in which we can help Swifts survive and thrive.
When: Wed March 7 2018 19:30 - 21:30

Spiders - a natural history

Geoff Oxford, University of York, YNU
British spiders: their numbers, structure and importance in various food webs; feeding, moulting and mating. Silk – the defining feature of spiders - will be a recurring theme.
When: Wed March 21 2018 19:30 - 21:30

Annual General Meeting

When: Wed April 25 2018 19:30 - 21:30

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